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How to Create a Nasty Fuzz Bass with SoundToys Decapitator

How to Create a Nasty Fuzz Bass with SoundToys Decapitator + Reamping
How to Create a Nasty Fuzz Bass with SoundToys Decapitator + Reamping
Greetings! My name is Ian Vargo. I’m with The Pro Audio Files, and today I’m going to be showing you how to achieve the most nasty, disgusting fuzz bass sound possible using the SoundToys Decapitator and reamping.

I’m going to be using the music, “Ugly Ugly Words”, whose new record, Queers comes out on January 13th. Make sure to check it out.
Alright. So, the lead singer, Andy, approached me with this song that has a really driving acoustic guitar part that takes up a lot of space. Let’s take a listen.

[acoustic guitar]

It’s a very cool, manic sounding part that goes throughout the entirety of the song. So, the challenge was to find a space for that, and additionally work in other parts of the arrangement to compliment it. So, I knew that we needed a bass part, and what I was hearing in my head was sort of a 70’s porno fuzz bass sounding part.

Not that I sit around watching 70’s pornos and listen to the bass, but you get what I’m talking about.

So, the way it sounded in my head, I’m going to hum along what I heard in my head.

[acoustic guitar plays, mimicing fuzz bass sounds with voice]

So, you get a really sort of sleezy sounding part. So, I recorded it pretty dry, knowing that I would end up doing processing afterwards, so let’s take a listen to this bass part.

[bass with acoustic guitar]

But, I thought this was just a little bit boring, because there’s not a lot going on. It’s a cool bass line, but sonically, it doesn’t really grab the ear.

So, I started with a gate to just get rid of some of the finger and fret noise, and here’s the secret, is to use two consecutive instances of the SoundToys Decapitator. I love this plug-in. Let’s take a listen right here. This is the first instance.


[bass plays through Decapitator, enabling and bypassing Decapitator]
Definitely adding some high-end fizziness and distortion.

And the real key was this second part right here, which – read up on the different styles. The style settings for the Decapitator. I really like E, because it has this super compressed, almost gated feel to it when you drive this plug-in hard, which can be obtained by this “Punish” button right here. Multiplies the distortion by many, many times.

So let’s take a listen.

[bass with second Decapitator]

That’s really what I was going for, and then after that, just a little bit of EQ to get rid of some stuff at 5k.

Then, I took that part, I came out of Pro Tools, I ran this distorted signal into an amplifier, and then put a microphone on that amplifier, and recorded it back into Pro Tools.

So, it just brings in a little bit of room, as you can hear from this part. It still sounds a little bit direct, even though it’s cool and distorted, what I wanted is the sound of actual air being moved, so I achive this with the reamping of the bass part.

Let’s take a listen here.

[reamped bass]


Put them together.

[reamped bass plays with DI bass]

And it really helped cut through the guitar.

[bass plays with acoustic guitars]

And then, starting in the second verse, I doubled that part – the bass part – with a really fuzzed out guitar. I have a Z-vex Fuzz Factor, which is one of my favorite pedals. It’s an absolutely ridiculous distortion pedal. Let’s take a listen to that.

[distorted guitars]

Put them together…


Cool! Reamping is definitely something that I recommend reading up on and practicing. Actually for the final mix of this song, we ended up recording the entire mix reamped, and incorporated that. Let’s take a listen here.

[mix, reamped]

Really adds a lot.

Alright! So this has been Ian Vargo, with The Pro Audio Files. Make sure to check out “Ugly, Ugly Words”, whose new record “Queers” comes out on January 13th. If you have any questions at all, contact me, e-mail me, and I would love to answer them. Thank you!


Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo is a Producer, Mixer and Audio Professor based in Los Angeles. He has worked on numerous major label and independent records. Get in touch and learn more on his website.